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General Scanning Discussion For general questions not specific to a model of scanner or general discussion of use of a scanner. Location specific posts should be directed to the regional forums listed below.

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Old 07-04-2014, 11:41 PM
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Default What Prompted YOU To Buy A Scanner?

Note to Mod - I am new, so I hope I am posting in an appropriate forum, this one seemed to fit the topic.

I know some of you guys are PD or FD affiliated, and that sure is a great reason to buy a scanner. I have different reasons for my recent interest.

I have not owned a scanner since my late teen and early 20's when I was affiliated with CAP, my scanner then was crystal dependent (Like my CB as well!). I am now in my 50's and crime, particularly violent crime has risen sharply. We had a reason to evacuate a few years ago (Train derailment with chemical spill) and while I got out in time, I sure would have loved to have the time to get more than our bugout bags - and a scanner would have given me up to 45 minutes more warning than we had.

I am not as young as I once was and hearing 'suspicious person' searches in my area is a heads-up because I am generally friendly when someone comes to my door (before say 10:30pm).

I don't expect to live life with my ear to a scanner speaker, of course, but it could honestly be critical, well-timed 'background noise'.

Well, that's it... I would be interested to hear your stories!
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Old 07-04-2014, 11:57 PM
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Default What prompted me to buy a scanner...

What prompted ME was the fact that I am fascinated with all things "over the air" be it shortwave, LW, satellite, you name it - since I was a little girl and fiddled with our TV antenna dipole and UHF channel selector hoping to find those "magic unknown channels" I had never heard of "DXing" & thought I had invented the idea of searching for far off stations! At 14 I took apart a boombox and messed with the (pots?) dials inside & found out that I could receive air traffic. No one taught me this and it was an idea all my own that I didnt learn from someone else and this was before internet. I collect old junk from thrift stores that is all things radio, from antennas to parts to receivers- and the only receiver thus lacking in our home was a digital scanner.

I had to wait til we found one on sale (Uniden Bearcat BCD996XT for only 232. at Frys Electronics yay)- No Way I would pay 500.-600 dollars for a "toy". I also enjoy listening to it for the same reasons you do- crime. I do have a parent that was in law enforcement for over 30 years, and the workings of cops on the beat interest me as well. Speaking of "Suspicious Persons" you mention in your post- if *I* were you, no matter where I live- even in the most bucolic of neighborhoods I would NOT. Ever. Open. Doors. To. Strangers! One of tricks crooks use in my town (Phoenix AZ) but not limited to this city- thugs use an innocent looking female or child to knock on the door. When one is knocking on the front door, they send their associate to break in the back. They knock LOUDLY- bang on the door- and if no one answers they know the coast is clear. THIS is how burglaries work- they almost ALWAYS 99% of the time if not 100% of times send someone to knock on the door.

I never answer- if I do, its through the door but not opening it unless it is a uniformed police officer. No one is coming to your door to deliver a winning lottery ticket, so why open it?

Funny thing about suspicious persons is I think that is the most common calls I hear on the scanner- shows that people do care about their community I suppose either that or they are just old biddies like Mrs Kravitz (from Bewitched tv show lol).

I am a little surprised at the lack of media attention many serious and violent calls I hear on the scanner ever making our local newscasts. Shootings, murders, almost never on our news. Also, the nationalities of the perps are hidden from newscasts I guess out of political correctness! What a shame. As if we the people are incapable of discerning what we are adult enough to hear. It is as if they are treating us like little children who must be carefully shielded from the real world. Another thing I found out just from the scanner is the incredible number of casual thefts in town especially "beer runs": people walking out of convenience stores with beer and not paying. I must hear about 5 of these in a few hrs on the scanner at night. Lots of thefts, and unwanted persons refusing to leave commercial establishments.

Oh well a rant, an opinion and my life story! Cheers
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Old 07-05-2014, 12:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fleef View Post
Funny thing about suspicious persons is I think that is the most common calls I hear on the scanner- shows that people do care about their community I suppose either that or they are just old biddies like Mrs Kravitz (from Bewitched tv show lol).
Gladys Kravitz would have a scanner right next to those binoculars of hers!
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Old 07-05-2014, 12:42 AM
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What Prompted Me to buy a Scanner? For me It was due to our electrician/Projectionist at a 2 Indoor/2 Outdoor Drive in Theater when I was in High School in 1975. I had started working the Box office way down by the highway from the main Indoors/concession. Lots of free time to kill between showings and close time and it came in handy. I heard the Projectionists scanner and was hooked right away. I liked the idea of knowing what was going on around me and what to AVOID. Too many assume people are up to no good with scanners. Since 1975 I've never used it for anything but to be informed of crazies in the area or Tornadoes on the ground *it saved me several times from Storms* or chases headed at my direction. Many of us listed similar stories on the Post asking "What was Scanning like? back in the Day" I posted links of photos of the exact scanners I had from 1975 - today for that question.
Radio Shack Pro4-A Crystal Handheld. 1st Scanner Owned - http://radiopics.com/RS-Realistic/PRO/PRO-4A.htm
Regency Touch M400 http://radiopics.com/Regency/Regency_Touch%20M400.htm
Regency R4030 Handheld - http://radiopics.com/Regency/Regency_R4030.htm
Radio Shack Pro44 Handheld- http://radiopics.com/RS-Realistic/PRO/PRO-44.htm
Radio Shack Base Pro2026 - http://radiopics.com/RS-Realistic/PRO/PRO-2026.htm
Radio Shack Base Pro2036 http://radiopics.com/RS-Realistic/PRO/PRO-2036.htm
Radio Shack Pro96 Digital Handheld - http://radiopics.com/RS-Realistic/PRO/PRO-96.htm

Last edited by Johnnydollar2; 07-05-2014 at 12:59 AM.. Reason: added photo links for Scanners
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Old 07-05-2014, 1:34 AM
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I purchased my first scanner in 1979 when I began working as an EMT. I would have the scanner on in the station and we would know when the fire stations for our coverage zone were dispatched. This would give us about a 3-5 min jump before our dispatcher received the call from county communications. Now some 35 years later I am still hooked on this hobby.
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Old 07-05-2014, 6:21 AM
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What probably got me started was when my Dad got one of those built-it-yourself radio kits from Radio Shack. I never really heard much on it IIRC, but it started an interest in listening to public safety communications. 30+ years later and I am still listening.


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Old 07-05-2014, 6:55 AM
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It was the next logical step for me after using a hand tunable multi-band radio on VHF. I think I bought my first crystal controlled desk top scanner in 1974. It has been a lifetime addiction. I could run the local scanners anonymous chapter!
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Old 07-05-2014, 7:36 AM
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Walking home one day and asked the neighbor down the street what the tower in his backyard was for. I was just a young teenager, mid 60's. He rested back on the trunk of his car and talked to me for quite a while, then gave me a tour of his "shack". When he finished the tour, he handed me a radio, I had no idea at that time what uhf/ vhf was, and said have fun, any questions come on back.
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Old 07-05-2014, 8:03 AM
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What prompted me were two things. One, I love anything radio, been a ham radio operator for 52 years. Am amazed at all the new technology, especially digital and trunking. Two, I am a retired physician who spent quite a bit of time working with paramedics and law enforcement as they brought patients to the ER. Can remember the radios going off in the background while working. I like scanning in general, but especially the paramedic runs and emergency medical services.
Steve AA6IO
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Old 07-05-2014, 8:09 AM
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Oh, and one other thing. I still am the medical director of a battered womens' shelter in the Southeast Los Angeles area. I monitor the domestic violence calls in my area by law enforcement. Still work with a number of LA County Sheriffs in this respect.
Steve AA6IO
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Old 07-05-2014, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaxco View Post
Note to Mod - I am new, so I hope I am posting in an appropriate forum, this one seemed to fit the topic.

I know some of you guys are PD or FD affiliated, and that sure is a great reason to buy a scanner. I have different reasons for my recent interest.

I have not owned a scanner since my late teen and early 20's when I was affiliated with CAP, my scanner then was crystal dependent (Like my CB as well!). I am now in my 50's and crime, particularly violent crime has risen sharply. We had a reason to evacuate a few years ago (Train derailment with chemical spill) and while I got out in time, I sure would have loved to have the time to get more than our bugout bags - and a scanner would have given me up to 45 minutes more warning than we had.

I am not as young as I once was and hearing 'suspicious person' searches in my area is a heads-up because I am generally friendly when someone comes to my door (before say 10:30pm).

I don't expect to live life with my ear to a scanner speaker, of course, but it could honestly be critical, well-timed 'background noise'.

Well, that's it... I would be interested to hear your stories!
Well, I was given a short wave receiver by an uncle waaaaaaaaay back in the day (late 70's). Can't tell you how many day (and nights) I spent in my basement, ear practically glued to the speaker, taking in all the events and people from around the world. Eventually I wanted to hear more local stuff, so I bought a CB radio so I could talk as well as listen. As fun as that was, I wasn't hearing any police or fire action, so instead of buying a scanner like I should have, I lost interest and more or less gave up on my radio hobby. I did have a 20 channel Regency scanner briefly in the mid 80's, but I hardly ever listened to it so I gave it to a friend.

Fast forward to 1991. Was in a Radio Shack store looking for a birthday gift for my brother when I saw a few scanners on a shelf. Decided to go over and have a look. Spent quite a bit of time standing there, looking them over, and picking the brains of the store manager about them. That was back in the day when RS employees actually had knowledge of how to operate/program scanners. Well, I eventually settled on the PRO-37; a two hundred channel scanner that, at the time, was their top of the line handheld scanner. I've owned scanners ever since. Sometimes just one or two and sometimes more than a dozen.

Usually no matter where I'm at in my house, I always have at least a couple of scanners on and running. Love to listen to my city comms, along with other local towns and also Chicago PD and FD. Always have the local 2mtr / 70cm freqs running in the background along with the local NWS channels.

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Old 07-05-2014, 12:21 PM
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I always loved broadcast radio as a kid, and when I found out you could actually listen to the railroad next to my house... that was it... had to have one. Ironically, I was only able to listen for a short time before we moved, and never really had a chance to understand what they were talking about at that time. Also... I eventually realized that as a kid, it was sort of more intriguing NOT knowing exactly what they were doing at that point, because it made it more mysterious to me. But later as an adult though, it was a very valuable tool. Thee were periods where I barely listened to anything for years. Which I sort of regret now, since those were some of the best years... where pretty much everything was open.
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Old 07-05-2014, 12:36 PM
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Another hobby of mine actually got me into this one. I've always been into public transportation, buses, trains, etc, and it was a desire to listen to my local public transit radio system for contacting buses that pushed me towards buying my first scanner. Then when I realized everything else you could listen to... well. Here I am.
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Old 07-05-2014, 8:37 PM
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I guess my reason is simple-I wanted one and asked for it for a xmas present in 2012. Got a BCT15X and haven't regretted it since.
I like listening to the local PD/Sheriff and FD/EMS, D.O.T., Fish & Game. it's all enjoyable to me.
I liked listening to that BCT15X so much I asked for a BC125AT for xmas of 2013 so I'd have a more portable unit.

It's a great hobby.
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Old 07-05-2014, 10:57 PM
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I've had a fascination with communications since I was a kid - AM/FM radio, TV, telephones, public address systems, it didn't matter, I liked it all. The first time I saw a scanner was at a friend's house, and I was intrigued by it. Turned out her dad was a ham, and he introduced me to scanners/amateur radio. He even took me with him to a couple of hamfests, which I didn't completely understand, but had fun at anyway. Many years later, a retired neighbor gave me a 10-channel Regency scanner he didn't want; that rekindled my interest in scanners. The Regency is long gone, but the interest is still there and is as strong as it ever was.

FWIW, I'm planning to take the test for my ham license this coming winter.
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Old 07-06-2014, 12:24 AM
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I remember my grandpa having a Bearcat 8 channel crystal scanner back in Albany NY, and he had it set to scan Albany, Schenectady, Scotia PD and Fire. He used to listen to it at night before going to bed. He also had a big stick of hickory with a nickname I will refrain from repeating.

Anyways, once I was in college working I bought a Radio Shack scanner and a copy of Police Call. I was pretty much set once I programmed in Seattle PD and Fire, and the UWPD. Since I worked doing Event Staff with the City, it wasn't long until I had an an SPD wallet sized Disposition Code and Car Numbering guide to help figure it all out.

One night there was a greater alarm fire at the closed Sand Point Naval Air Station, and there were sirens and mutual-aid apparatus screaming past my apt all night long. The radio traffic was crazy.... Needless to say, I was hooked after that.
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Old 07-09-2014, 2:59 AM
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Same as a few others for me. When I was much younger and thinking about joining the fire dept I got a scanner to listen to what was going on. Now almost 20 years later I still have those original scanners and many others.
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Old 07-09-2014, 3:19 AM
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I was watching an episode of Seinfeld on late December 2012.. Kramer appeared in Jerry's apartment with a police scanner and talked about it. I was like, "woah that's kinda neat!" So I put the episode on pause and went online to do some research. I ended up finding a Uniden BC125AT on e-bay for a good price. Haven't looked back since!

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Old 07-09-2014, 9:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hfxChris View Post
Another hobby of mine actually got me into this one. I've always been into public transportation, buses, trains, etc, and it was a desire to listen to my local public transit radio system for contacting buses that pushed me towards buying my first scanner. Then when I realized everything else you could listen to... well. Here I am.
Same for me. A friend started me on listening when he showed off his BC210, prompting me to buy a Regency ACT-T16. Unfortunately, the local transit agency(MBTA) has converted to an digital system not received by any scanner, making listening much less enjoyable.
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Old 07-09-2014, 10:48 AM
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I started with a friend of mine showing me their family scanner and realising that I could hear the police and fire and stuff talking so I wanted one then. It was 5 or so years later I bought me a pro-16 or18 crystal scanner it was my dads old bosses only one channel worked but it was our local pd. And an ems channel that for some reason only worked on Sunday mornings lol. I had that about a year then I finally told my mom I wanted something better and I only wanted one thing for Christmas so I got to looking and j found a bct-15 for $250 and I was like I want that one so we ordered it.. so Christmas day came and I finally got to hook it up and I was over whelmed. I finally figured out how to search for new channels because I had no clue as to what to add or anything... push come to shove I googled a little and came across this site and I started adding by going into search and holding and typing in the frequency. But slowly I got better and more organized and got better now I'm fairly good about programming both my radios by hand and computer
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